Saxophonist Lucy Bristow and other members of the St Pius band tune up for their next fund-raising session
DECEMBER 22, 2006 THE CATHOLIC HERALD
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Pupils sing for charity
I NLESS than four hours of carol singing, youngsters from St Pius X Preparatory School in Preston, Lancashire, have raised in excess of £700 for charity. The children, all under 12, entertained shoppers in Preston’s Fishergate Centre, raising £550 for a cystic fibrosis charity. The cause is one for which the school has held several fund-raising events in the past because one of its pupils – Lucy Baxter – has the disease. Less than 24 hours later the school’s musical pupils performed their Christmas concert for a second time at Booths store in Fulwood, raising a further £177. This time the Vine House Cancer Appeal was the chosen charity. “Shoppers overwhelmed us with their generosity,” said Bridgeen Banks, the headteacher. “Our pupils performed beautifully after putting in plenty of practice and it certainly paid off.”
Left to right: Fr Ronald Creighton-Jobe, Auxiliary Bishop Alan Hopes of Westminster, Princess Josephine zu Löwenstein and Prince Rupert zu Löwenstein
Prince awarded papal knighthood
A TIRELESS servant of the Church has received a prestigious award from Pope Benedict XVI. Friends and family gathered at the London Oratory earlier this month for the investiture of Prince Rupert zu Löwenstein, who was made a Knight Commander with Star of St Gregory the Great. The award comes after the Prince was named Bailiff Grand Cross of Honour and
Devotion of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. The Prince is President of the Order’s British Association. Performing the investiture was Auxiliary Bishop Alan Hopes of Westminster, representing Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor. During the service, a citation from the Vatican was read out which described the Prince as “most deserving [of the award] for what you have done for the Church”.
The prince is honorary president of the Latin Mass Society, president of the Friends of the London Oratory and president emeritus of Aid to the Church in Need in Britain, the charity for Christians who suffer for their faith. The investiture took place during a Tridentine Rite Low Mass in the Little Oratory celebrated by the Provost of the London Oratory, Fr Ignatius Harrison.
Rebecca Head, Chloë Taylor, Marianna Wharley, Sophie Hawkins, Rebecca Edwards and Poppy Booth
Leweston cross-country runners savour success
T HEJUNIOR girls’ crosscountry team at St Anthony’s Leweston School, Sherborne, has come runner-up at the English schools’ cross-country cup final, an achievement which ranks Leweston as the top independent school in the country at under-13 level.
Over 400 schools across the country battled through both local and regional rounds to become one of the 24 teams to run in Bolton on December 2. The Leweston team –comprising Chloë Taylor, Marianna Warley, Rebecca Head, Sophie Hawkins, Rebecca Edwards and Poppy Booth –ran
courageously in wet and windy conditions to finish behind St John Fisher High School, Harrogate. The performance of Rebecca Edwards, Sophie Hawkins and Poppy Booth was particularly impressive since they were competing against girls a year older than them. In a statement the school’s
PE Department said: “We are extremely proud of the girls and their achievement. Leweston has enjoyed a fearsome reputation in cross country for a number of years now, beating bigger schools and sport specialists, but this is the first team to place so highly in this competition.”
Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor and Mgr Kukla
Cardinal welcomes Poles to Westminster
L ONDON ’ S Polish community should feel welcome and part of the Catholic family of the Diocese of Westminster, said Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor at a Mass at a west London Polish church earlier this month. The Cardinal, who was paying a special visit to the church of Our Lady Mother of the Church in Ealing, was welcomed by Mgr Tadeusz Kukla, Vicar Delegate of the Polish Catholic Mission, and
Marian priests of the parish. Sincethe end of World War Two, when Polish exservicemen who fought alongside the Allies settled in Britain, Ealing has become a popular home for Poles. There has been a dramatic growth in its Polish population in recent yearsand, as a result, the average number of worshippers at the Polish Church of Our Lady Mother of the Church has shot up to over 5,000 every Sunday.
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Restored chapel is blessed
B ISHOP Kieran Conry of Arundel and Brighton celebrated a Mass to mark the Golden Jubilee and blessing of the refurbished chapel of St George’s College, Weybridge, earlier this month. Attending the Mass were members of the Georgian community, which included old Georgians, governors, Josephites, staff, pupils and parents. Pupils led the various readings, assisted with the distribution of Holy Communion and interpreted the story of the Annunciation through mime and song. Today the chapel –which was formally opened on December 8, 1956 –is used frequently by the school community, the local parish and by former students for
Sister Kitty, two St George’s pupils and Bishop Conry
weddings and their children’s baptisms. During the summer, the chapel’s seating was extended from 428 to 600 seats, the old side altars
were restored, improvements were made to the Lady Chapel and Sacristies and a state-of-the-art audio and visual system was installed.
Stage Guild holds annual dinner
T HE C ATHOLIC Stage Guild Annual Dinner was held on December 11 at Allen Hall, the seminary of the Archdiocese of Westminster. Frank Finlay, the awardwinning actor, was guest of honour at the event. In the grounds of Allen Hall there still stands a mulberry tree where St Thomas More used to sit with his family. After dinner, Mr Finlay and guests paid a visit by torchlight to this special place and prayers were said in honour of St Thomas More by Fr Pat Maloney. Michael Salter, Frank Finlay and Richard O’Callaghan
Bishop Hopes administers Traditional Rite confirmations
A UXILIARY Bishop Alan Hopes of Westminster conferred Traditional Rite confirmations on 41 candidates at St James’s Church in central London earlier this month. Among those confirmed at the ceremony, which attracted a congregation of 400, were 33 children, six young adults and two 60-year-old recent converts. St James’s choir sang polyphony and plainchant during the anointing and led the congregation in the Veni Creator Spiritus and other traditional hymns. After the anointing Bishop Hopes then led the congregation in the Divine Praises and conferred Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. The ceremony took place after the bishop had satisfied himself that the candidates’ knowledge of the Catholic faith was sufficient in a catechetical session in the Lady Chapel. This is the fourth consecutive year that confirmations in the Traditional Rite have been arranged by the Latin Mass Society with the permission of Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor.
Joint faith school opened
S T J OSEPH ’ S Catholic and Anglican High School, Wrexham, has been officially opened by Jane Davidson, the Minister for Education and Lifelong Learning in the Welsh Assembly. The opening ceremony was attended by the Mayor of Wrexham, Bishop Edwin Regan of Wrexham and the Anglican Bishop John S Davies of St Asaph. At the event, Mrs
Davidson unveiled a commemorative plaque and said that she was delighted to be part of this success story. Anthony O’Toole, the chairman of governors, said: “We have a twinkle in our eyes; we know that we are the first in Wales to be a joint faith school.” Although built on the original site, the school took one year to build at a cost of £10.2 million.
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MOHAMMED ASHAFA MUSLIM CLERIC
JAMES WUYE PENTECOSTAL PASTOR
The pastor and the imam wanted to kill each other. Now, they are best friends
Mark Greaves meets two religious leaders who were flung together after a deadly Christian-Muslim conflict in Nigeria In May 1992, on the streets of Zango Kataf in Nigeria, Christians and Muslims fought a two-day battle with sticks, knives, bows and arrows, and guns –anything that could be turned into a weapon was used. The violence, which began after the government decided to move a market from the Muslim to the Christian area of town, killed 1,800 people. The fighting was led on one side by Mohammed Ashafa, a Muslim cleric, and on the other by James Wuye, a Pentecostal pastor. Ashafa’s teacher and two of his cousins were murdered during the battle, while Wuye’s arm was cut off as he tried to defend his church. Now, the two men are friends. They lead Nigeria’s ChristianMuslim Interfaith Mediation Centre, and travel around the country giving workshops and seminars, arriving in “trouble spots” with flipcharts and marker pens in an attempt to reconcile warring communities. Their efforts have been hugely successful: in 2005 the pair helped to end four years of “reprisal attacks” in central Nigeria in which thousands of Christians and Muslims were slaughtered. Today Pastor Wuye and Imam Ashafa sit together on a flowerpatterned sofa at an office in central London. They are on a publicity tour for The Imam and the Pastor –a documentary about how the two men turned from armed militants to promoters of peace –and are scheduled to meet the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams next week. (The film has been screened at the president’s office in Nigeria, at the United Nations headquarters in New York, and, two weeks ago, at the Houses of Parliament.) After the fighting in 1992 men on both sides waited for an opportunity to take revenge. Even now Wuye says that remembering friends who died in the battle “makes me sick for vengeance”. I ask Wuye how he lost his arm, but he explains that it is “sometimes traumatising to recount what happened in detail”. Many of the young men he fought with died. “The worst of it was seeing the sorrow of the living, the young widows who had just married.” Ashafa and Wuye’s militias spent the next three years planning to eliminate the leaders of the other group. But in May 1995, the two men were finally introduced to each other during a meeting of religious leaders (they both had prominent roles in Christian and Muslim youth associations). The gathering, at the headquarters of the Kaduna state governor, had been arranged to discuss how to dispel the fear among Nige
Mohammed Ashafa, left, and James Wuye: ‘Religion is like nuclear energy: it can be used as a positive and a negative force’
rians that immunisation against disease also led to sterilisation (a myth that arose after charities tried to promote family planning in the area). During the tea-break a friend of Ashafa’s, who worked for Nigeria’s state-run media, took both men by the hand and made them talk to each other. Ashafa explains: “My heart was beating. ‘This is the guy,’ I thought. But you can’t do anything because it’s a government house, and security is at a high level. You have to pretend to be the good guy. We just talked, and said: ‘Hi, how are you?’ ” They arranged to hold a debate. But intentions, at this early stage, were not entirely peaceful: Ashafa admits that part of the reason for organising the meeting was to identify the people who had killed his friends and to take revenge.
In the end, “debate” was replaced by the idea of dialogue. Wuye explains that since he did not have any knowledge of the Koran he thought the debate would not work in his favour. “As a young person I was told not to touch the Koran, that if I touched the Koran I would go mad,” he explains. “So I opted for dialogue.” The success of the first meeting, held at the office of Ashafa’s media friend, caused astonishment. “People thought it was an important thing, that it was magic: ‘How can these young people come together from both sides and have this dialogue without violence?” The two groups struggled to find a venue for their second meeting. They were not allowed to use rooms in hotels or government buildings because the authorities feared that dialogue would turn into violence, and, in the end, the only place where
they could book a room was the British Consul. The ambassador told them: “I will put my job on the line and allow you to use the hall. Just promise me you won’t destroy it.” The men came with “daggers in their pockets”. The groups wrote down their questions so that only the “friendly” ones were read out loud. Ashafa and Wuye eventually decided to leave their youth organisations and establish an interfaith centre that was independent from any specific faith group. It was a move that caused controversy. “How can a Muslim cleric and a Christian cleric go together and work in the same office?” people asked. They were seen as “traitors” and were accused of betraying the principles of their faith. Those who opposed their work said it would lead to the creation of a “churchmosque” and a “Koran-Bible”. “We always have to explain this:
there is no compromising of the basic principles of our faith and traditions,” says Ashafa. “It’s about making space for the other.” But the relationship between the two men has not been entirely without conflict. For three years, Wuye jokes during the documentary, he wanted to suffocate his colleague with a pillow. “But now we are like husband and wife. We cannot divorce because our children, the Nigerian community, would suffer.” If they fall out, or one of them is offended, they “go to clinic” and talk about it. In 2005 the interfaith centre’s most spectacular triumph came in April 2005 when they organised a “peace festival” that succeeded in bringing an end to a four-year conflict in Plateau state, in the centre of Nigeria –a conflict which killed thousands of Nigerians and forced many more to abandon their homes.
The fighting began four days before September 11, 2001, when 2,000 people died during rioting in Jos, the state’s main city. In “reprisal attacks” over the next four years, villagers were massacred and churches burned down. It was equivalent to genocide, says Ashafa: bodies were buried in mass graves without any ceremony. Ashafa and Wuye were invited by the government in the autumn of 2004 to organise talks between the two communities. After they had identified the leaders, and talked to them separately, they brought the groups together. But the process was derailed by what Wuye calls “shadows”: people who did not live in the area but who took part in the violence and had influence among the locals. “Certain calls came in from certain places,” Wuye explains –and extra meetings had to be arranged. The two men visited the region 17 times. When the day of the festival finally came, Ashafa says, there was tremendous anxiety that violence would break out. They had been working with 20 people; now 20,000 would descend upon a village of only a few hundred. Every ethnic group came with a dance troupe; religious leaders, including a Catholic bishop, attended along with the governor of the state. Public apologies were made, and eventually Wuye and Ashafa were able to relax. According to one man interviewed for The Imam and the Pastor the festival had brought “an end to the bloodshed”. He calls it one of the happiest days of his life. A young woman explains that she lost her father, her mother and her sister in the fighting –but the festival, she adds, was an opportunity to “dance together”, and to share ideas. Since that day, in April 2005, Plateau state has not seen any more violence between Christians and Muslims. Ashafa and Wuye both see religion as a potentially destructive force. In Nigeria, faith leaders have huge influence; the trouble is, according to Ashafa’s deputy, another imam who came with him to London, “we often preach violence rather than peace”. “Religion is like a candle,” Ashafa says. “You can use it to light a house, but at the same time it can be used to burn the house. “Religion is like nuclear energy: it can be used as a positive force, but it can also be used negatively. It depends on who’s using the tools.”
For more information on The Imam and the Pastor , visit www.fltfilms.org.uk
Guild of Our Lady of Ransom (A Registered Charity) Poor Parishes Grants Christmas 2006 East Anglia - £25,000 Menevia - £23,500 Wrexham - £23,500 Nottingham - £18,000 Plymouth - £17,000 Lancaster - £15,000 Shrewsbury - £12,000 Clifton - £10,500 Birmingham - £10,000 Cardiff - £10,000 Southwark - £10,000 Northampton - £10,000 Brentwood - £9,500 Portsmouth - £9,500 Hallam - £9,000 Leeds - £9,000 Middlesbrough - £9,000 Arundel & Brighton - £8,000 Hexham & Newcastle - £8,000 Westminster - £8,000 Liverpool - £8,000 Salford - £8,000 Falklands Prefecture - £7,500 Total Parish Grants £278,000 Additional Grants 2006 Walsingham New Church - £10,000 Westminster Cathedral Music - £7,000 Cardinal Newman Cause - £5,000 TOTAL GRANTS 2006 - £300,000 The Master Of The Guild Thanks All Ransomers And Friends A Happy Christmas To Them All
AFRICAN DIARY By Fr David McLaurin
Iwas telling one of my Indian confreres about Anglo-Indian cuisine the other day. Funny the sort of things we end up discussing here. Some people will, of course, try anything, so he urged me to create, in an African setting, that British culinary masterpiece, kedgeree. He thought it sounded as good as my description of it, but imagine my disappointment when I found you simply cannot get smoked haddock here, despite looking everywhere. You can get smoked sailfish, as apparently there is someone with a smokery up in the highlands of Kenya. But, human nature being what it is, I have started to long for smoked haddock, and, along with it, that other simply delicious food of my childhood, kippers. I suppose these thoughts of long-forgotten delights are occasioned by the proximity of Christmas. Recently, I went to stay at a religious house for a couple of nights and there I encountered two examples of Kenyan cuisine which had hitherto escaped my notice. The first appeared at breakfast; it was a glutinous reddish-brown suspension, the texture of which reminded me of wallpaper paste. It turned out to be a porridge made of ground millet, known as wimbi . Everyone was tucking into it with gusto, telling me that it was both tasty and nutritious, but I stuck to my
usual toast and peanut butter. The second unusual dish was at lunch. It was Friday and there was a choice – tilapia tails, grilled, or tilapia heads, stewed. I was not at first sure what the latter were, and only after a few moments of careful study did I realise that those were dead fish eyes staring up at me. This reminded me of a girl I once knew (but whom I have never seen since – I wonder what happened to her) who became hysterical on being offered a trout which had its head on. It seemed she could not eat “food with a face”. I remember being rather dismissive of this at the time, but looking at those tilapia heads I felt a slight twinge of fellow-feeling with her. The fish-head stew was very popular, though I stuck with the tails, not sure about the etiquette of eating a fish head. Incidentally, what happens to the middle part of the fish? Where does that end up? It is the same ques
tion raised by the national dish, matumbo (tripe). The lining of the stomach gets eaten, but what happens to the rest of the cow? Meanwhile everyone is telling me that I really missed out on not trying wimbi , and that there is an equally delightful breakfast dish called uji , which is a sort of maize meal porridge, a watered-down version of the ubiquitous ugali . Talking of which, I want to use our maize meal to make Mexican tortillas, if I can find a recipe. But before I do that, I am thinking of making some traditional English (or should that be Scottish?) porridge on Christmas morning, to give me a nice warm start before cooking our Christmas dinner. The day after, on Boxing Day, we will be off to see the orphans carrying 200 cupcakes with us, among other things. (The orphans get cake once a year. Or at least these ones do. Most never see cake at all, something that all the commentators on the Madonna and Malawian orphan saga rather overlooked.) And then after that, the next morning, it is off to Mombasa very early in the morning for a much-needed sight of the sea, and, at 6,000 feet lower in elevation, some longed-for hot weather.
Fr David McLaurin is a missionary priest in Kenya
The London Oratory Roman Catholic Church, Brompton Road SW7 CHRISTMAS 2006
SUNDAY 24TH DECEMBER (CHRISTMAS EVE) The church closes at 6.00pm and opens again at 11.15pm 11.30pm Christmas Carols Midnight: Solemn Latin Mass (with orchestra) Coronation Mass (Mozart) For unto us a child is born (Handel) O regem caeli (Victoria)
CHRISTMAS DAY - MONDAY 25TH DECEMBER Mass 8 (English), 9 (Tridentine), 10 (Family Mass, English) 11am Solemn Latin Mass Missa Hodie Christus natus est (Palestrina) Verbum caro (Sheppard) Quem vidistis pastores (Andrea Gabrieli) Adeste fideles (arr. Russill)
4pm Solemn Benediction
Mass 12.30pm (English) & 4.30pm (English)
THE CHURCH CLOSES AT 5.30 PM